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Jack Blankenship’s Face, also simply referred to as The Face, is an oversized cutout of University of Alabama student Jackson Blankenship’s contorted face which he uses during college basketball games as a distraction to the opposing team.
The first photo of Jackson Blankenship, a freshman at the University of Alabama, and the cutout of his face at a home game against the University of Mississippi was posted to Reddit on February 4th, 2012. Titled “Distraction done right,” the thread received a score of 1874. Blankenship’s photobombing technique was also featured on ESPN during the broadcast of the game.
In Sports Photobombing
The tradition of bringing oversized heads to sporting events was started by The Show, the student fan group for the San Diego State Aztecs in 2002. They began with a cutout of Michael Jackson as a way to distract members of the opposing team during free throws. The practice was first documented in the December 19th, 2005 issue of ESPN the Magazine.
The fad spread to Indiana University in 2008, after their coach Tom Crean saw the idea in the ESPN Magazine. At the time, they were the only athletic department in the Big East who owned a jigsaw to cut out the photos. In 2010, students at Syracuse University in New York co-opted the idea, bringing a foam board cutout of the team’s coach, Jim Boeheim, to games. It debuted on January 25th of that year, inspiring other fans to make heads of players on the team throughout the season.
The night of February 14th, Blankenship retweeted the photo from the previous game, telling his followers to look out for him during the upcoming match against the University of Florida. A photo of Blankenship and his cutout at this game was taken by Hal Yeager and was published on The Birmingham News site that night. The next morning, Alabama’s state news site, Al.com, reposted it, calling it the Southeastern Conference photo of the year.
Get ready world. We return at 6:00 on
<a href="https://twitter.com/ESPN">ESPN</a> <a href="http://t.co/JmZ6MuA1" title="http://twitter.com/jack_____enship/status/169560206307639296/photo/1">twitter.com/jack_____enshi…</a></p>— Jackson Blankenship (jack_____enship) February 14, 2012
The photo was posted to Reddit on February 15th, 2012. It received 41,617 upvotes over five days with an overall score of 2812. The same day, it was reposted to Tumblr by cajunboy and reblogged by The Daily What, causing it to accrue nearly 25,000 notes in five days. It also appeared on Deadspin that day. On the 16th, the photo was featured on ESPN, Yahoo! Sports, and the Hollywood Gossip.
Interview with Blankenship
In an interview with a local CBS news station, Blankenship stated he has been making the face since the age of 13 when he and his friends began using it as an inside joke. Previous to the February 2012 sightings, Blankenship had been seen making the face in the crowd of the Today Show in April 2010, but did not have the cutout.
Al.com caught up with Blankenship on the 17th in a video interview, during which he explained exactly how he makes the face.
Search for Jack Blankenship peaked on February 16th, 2012, two days after the photo was taken.
Yahoo! Sports – Alabama fan’s face sign is an instant Internet hit
The Hollywood Gossip – Alabama Fan Distracts Opponents With Giant Ass Pic of His Own Face